Howdy folks. We had a few problems with the admin site this past week, so I was unable to post a column, but all is solved and I'm back to recap all the goodies of the past week. So, lets not make haste and get started with this week's Notables.
"Marlon Wayans to Develop, Produce and Star in Pretty Ugly" - Monday, August 21:
This is some interesting news here. I've been a fan of Marlon Wayans for a few years now, as he's proven that he can perform well without his brothers in flicks like The Ladykillers, Requiem for a Dream and a few others. The same can't really be said for his brother Shawn Wayans, who hasn't really done jack squat without the help of family, probably because he's much less talented than any of his brothers. This new project will actually be developed by Marlon, and it looks like he's starting to branch out from the family tree even more, which could be some great news for him. While this flick doesn't sound tremendously good, about a dude cursed with ugliness trying to find his inner beauty, I'm really diggin' this far more talented Wayans finally separating himself and doing it on the solo tip. Sure, this flick might tank, but if it's the first step from us not seeing another White Chicks or Little Man type of flick, it's great news indeed. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Steven Soderbergh Says No Ocean's 14" - Monday, August 21:
This is a bit of a double-edged sword here. Ocean's Twelve had moderate success, taking in $125 million from a $110 million budget, compared to Ocean's Eleven's $183 million from an $85 million budget. The sequel was just, well, weird. It lacked the zing that made the original remake so great, with a dopey and complicated script by one of the worst screenwriters in the biz, George Nolfi, and it seemed like everyone just mailed it in. This time around, they have better writers in Brian Koppelman and David Levien, it will apparently be a comedy again, not to mention helmer Steven Soderbergh is back along with the all-star Ocean's regulars. Oh yeah, Al Pacino is a bad guy here as well. This is a double-edged sword, though, because this sounds pretty damn good, and if it's as good as it sounds, I don't know if I want the heist fun to end. Still, it's always good to end a series on a high note, instead of trying to string along second-rate sequels, so if this is the end of the Ocean's franchise, it sounds like a damn good way to bring it to a close. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Kevin Smith Doing a Horror Movie Next?" - Thursday, August 24:
This sounds like awesome news to me, folks! He's more than proven he can do comedy and drama, so horror sounds like a good move to me. I was actually thinking, if he were to switch genres, he'd do an action flick, given all his work writing comic books, but I think he'd be great doing a horror flick. It's also good that he wants to do straight-up horror and not throw humor in the mix, like so many other "horror" movies try to do these days. There have been some inventive new additions to the horror genre in recent years, and I'm looking forward to see if Smith can add to this. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Marvel Says There Will Be a Spider-Man 4" - Thursday, August 24:
Allrightythen. Let's see if they stick with this decision, or if there will be another rumor next week. I'm tired of hearing this crap about Spidey 3 being the last... and then they backpedal and say they're not sure... then they confirm there will be more... then more backpedaling. How about this. Just shut your damn mouths about anymore Spider-Man flicks until you're absolutely sure. So, for now, this is a Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Stephen Chow to Direct and Produce Yangtze River 7" - Friday, August 25:
While we don't know much about this flick, supposedly involving some sort of Chinese space mission, I'm just excited to see something else from the wonderful Stephen Chow. I absolutely LOVED his Kung Fu Hustle last year, with his glorious blend of humor and outstanding martial arts action. While we surely won't get the martial arts with this sci-fi comedy, I'm interested to see how well Chow can cross genres, and this should prove to be a good test for that. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It was quite an interesting weekend at the box office. Some sunshine rose significantly, snakes dropped significantly and a bunch of beer floated around the middle. But the top flick this weekend was aptly titled, as Invincible smashed up the competition. The underdog biopic starring Mark Wahlberg took in just over $17 million in its opening weekend, doubling the gross of the second-place finisher, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby which finished its fourth weekend with $8.1 million, and $127.8 million overall. As it were, Invincible was the sole flick to reach an eight-figure gross this weekend, which is no surprise as this marks the unofficial end of the summer movie season. But the Mark Wahlberg flick ended the season on a pretty decent note, with its inspirational story that the critics took too, with a solid 68% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And while a $17 million gross won't make headlines in the summer months, it's a pretty decent take considering its fairly mild rollout. The Disney flick opened in just 2,917 theaters, but still scored a solid $5,838 per-screen average. While budget numbers weren't released for this flick, it could end up with a decent $50-$60 million overall gross, from a flick that looks like it was made for about $20 million or so.
One of the coolest stories from this weekend is the rapid rise of one of the best-reviewed flicks of the year, Little Miss Sunshine. This quirky little comedy jumped in every category this weekend, leapfrogging from 7th place last weekend, to third this weekend, taking in $7.3 million in its 5th weekend in release. It increased 34% from last weekend, which is rather unheard of for most flicks, but seemingly old hat for this one. The flick has gone up from its previous weekend in all five weeks of its release and its theater count has ballooned in those five weeks from 7 theaters in its first weekend to this weekend's 1,430 theaters. The only area where the flick is dropping is per-screen average, which is only natural since it keeps adding theaters at an exponential rate. Still, it managed a $5,154 per-screen average this weekend, a pretty good number even though it was the worst in its run. The flick's success is likely due to its immense adoration of the nation's critics. The flick has recieved a whopping 93% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has received tons of great word-of-mouth buzz as well, since the marketing campaign is pretty much non-existent. Even though it's only at $22.8 million overall, it's having a phenomenal run, and I expect it to continue through the fall months as well.
The rest of the new flicks this weekend didn't have much to shout about. Beerfest took 4th place this weekend, despite getting the biggest theater count of the newbies. The Broken Lizard flick took in just over $7 million in its opening weekend, and got the old bitter beer face from the nation's critics as well. Beerfest scored just a 40% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes and, even though it opened during the weekend before most colleges start up classes, apparently collegians were too busy unpacking or drinking beer themselves. The flick was released in 2,904 theaters, but snagged a paltry $2,372 per-screen average for its efforts. Perhaps they should've waited to coincide this release with the actual Oktoberfest, when beer-loving college kids are settled in, instead of trying to snag some of that summer movie dough. Idlewild did fairly well in limited release, taking 9th place with $5.7 million, but screening in only 973 theaters and averaging an above-average $5,905 per-screen average, but How to Eat Fried Worms buried itself in 11th place with a terrible $4 million gross from 1,870 theaters.
This is a pretty simple site for what looks to be a pretty damn slick movie. First up, we get a very nice synposis under Story, Gallery offers some nice production photos, Downloads gives us a wallpaper, screensaver and AIM Icons to download. We also get the Trailer, some background info on the Characters and the Cast and Crew and a little Game where you have to avoid obstacles and damage to save the world, and stuff. There are also a few links at the bottom including some Concept Art, Movie News, Spy Tunes, which is about the soundtrack, and Homework Stealth, which is apparently just a sheet of algebra homework that you can bring up if a teacher comes by while you're surfing the site. Also, when you click on each menu, they show you a little spy gizmo that Alex uses along his adventures. This is a pretty slick little site with some nice style and decent substance. Alex Rider: Stormbreaker opens on October 6.
The Last Kiss: (LastKissmovie.com):
Another pretty simple site here, but they do give us samples of the full soundtrack to listen to while we surf. In About the Film, there are three sub-menus: Story, Cast and Crew and Photo Gallery. In Story, we don't get a simple synopsis like most sites, but we get a look at how the flick came together in different aspects of production. Even the sub-menus have sub-menus, apparently, as Cast and Crew has Casting, Cast and also Crew sub-menus. Casting is a nice piece about casting all the roles, while the Cast and Crew menus have bios for the movers and shakers behind and in front of the cameras. The Downloads menu has desktops, screensavers and AIM Icons to download and the Video menu gives you the great Trailer, some Clips, TV Spots and another nice little series of vids as well. A Day in the Life of Zach Braff is actually not really titled that well. While Braff is in most of the seven spots, they focus on other regular-Joe activities of other people in the cast like Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston and a hillarious little spot with Eric Christian Olsen on the set, talking about his nudity in the flick and Steven Spielberg. Trust me, it's funny kids. What's really cool about this is that it's just a little glimpse at these people, and how they really are. There's no glad-handing here, just some real slices of life from these celebrities and it's pretty cool to watch. This is a slick little site that could use some more content (two menus are "coming soon") but has some nice stuff on it. The Last Kiss opens on September 15.
Stop the presses folks! Robin Williams is actually in something that looks decent for a change! Despite my disdain for the loudmouth comedian, he looks like a pretty damn good fit here as a fake news guru who somehow becomes the President of the United States of America. He looks to be back to his old form here in a flick that has some rather current overtones, due to the popularity of "fake news" popularized by Jon Stewart and his The Daily Show. He runs for the presidency as a joke, but picks up steam along the way, only to be handed the office through some sort of computer error. Williams is surrounded by a solid cast also, with the wonderful Laura Linney who doesn't work enough as far as I'm concerned, along with Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Lewis Black. This should be pretty damn funny, folks, something Williams hasn't given us in years. Man of the Year opens on October 13.
God damn I love these movies! It appears Tobin Bell's Jigsaw isn't dead yet, but he will be soon, according to the synopsis. I don't know what to expect here, but I suspect it will be just as amazing as the first two, and take horror to another level yet again. Bring on the Jigsaw, baby!!! Saw III opens on October 27.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
A bunch of weird news this week, but I'm going with Kevin Smith going all bloddy on us for the Best News of the Week. While this isn't a guaranteed sure thing yet, it would be awesome for Smith to try the horror genre out for size. We know that he can make great flicks for not a ton of money, since Clerks II cost just $5 million, and with the flicks in the Saw franchise scaring the crap out of us on the cheap, horror could be right up his alley. I'll be keeping an eye on this, to see if it becomes a reality or not, but I think the prospect of a Kevin Smith horror movie is something that would be great indeed.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Well, I told you it was a weird week and I once again don't technically have a Worst News of the Week. But, since this whole thing is just ticking me off, I'll dub the Spider-Man Sequel Saga as a Worst News of the Week, because I'm sick of hearing about it. Now it seems there will be a 4th flick, but perhaps without Tobey Maguire. Next week, Tobey will sign a deal for a 4th Spider-Man, but director Sam Raimii will be out, and the week after that they'll say there won't be a 4th Spider-Man, but a 5th and 6th will definitely happen and after that Tobey will be unhappy and after that... God dammit! It seems anytime a word is whispered about any sort of status for future Spider-Man's, people jump all over it, and it's really pissing me off. At this point, I wouldn't believe there will be a 4th Spider-Man flick until I see a live press conference with everyone signing the contract on the E! network or something like that. Even then, I'd have doubts, but not as many. Stop slinging all this crap about future sequels, especially if you dolts can't get your stories straight.
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official sites for upcoming flicks, new trailers and, of course, the best and worst news of the week. Take care folks and, always remember: if it looks like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.